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De Kooning's Bicycle: Artists and Writers in the Hamptons Hardcover – November 9, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (November 9, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374165386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374165383
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,240,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a series of vividly told vignettes, critic and poet Long (Blue) illustrates how the East End of Long Island indelibly etched a mark on the style and work processes of the abstract impressionists and their artistically minded friends. For artists like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and their respective wives, Lee Krasner and Elaine, the Hamptons were a creative playground in the 1950s. Long reimagines their lives there in stories told from the artists' points of view. Pollock, aka Jack the Dripper, and Krasner moved to the East End in 1945 in an attempt to curb the infamous inebriate's drinking and stimulate his talent, and Long cleverly narrates Pollock's artistic methods. When the artist "unleashed screaming ribbons of cadmium yellow, it was like a hot trumpet solo," Long writes, likening his painting process to jazz improvisations. Former MoMA curator Frank O'Hara, Fairfield Porter, Jean Stafford and New Yorker cartoonist Saul Steinberg receive similarly poetic treatment, but it's with titans like Pollock and de Kooning that Long best captures the spirit of modernism as filtered through New York's rural past.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

New York City's influence on American art and literature is a given. Less well known is the effect of bucolic Long Island. Long, the art critic for the East Hampton Star, offers a vivid history of the Hamptons as a sea-caressed mecca for Manhattan-based painters and writers, a bohemian group who flocked to the shore each summer, beginning in the Gilded Age with William Merritt Chase and Childe Hassam. But Long soon wearies of factual reporting and chooses to slip into imaginary inner monologues instead, writing in the voices of Long Island's most notorious artist outlaw, Jackson Pollock; one of the island's most enduring denizens, Willem de Kooning; Fairfield Porter, who lived there with his wife and his lover, James Schuyler; as well as Frank O'Hara, Jean Stafford, and Saul Steinberg. Long's empathic projections are certainly mesmerizing and moving, as long as the reader is well versed in each artist's and writer's life and work, but there is an element of trespass here as Long covertly mixes fiction with art history. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lorrie on August 3, 2010
Format: Audible Audio Edition
This book paints a wonderful picture of the artists living in the Hamptons on Long island in the 1950s. Detailed accounts of Jackson Pollock and his wife and artist, Lee Krasner, as well as the DeKoonings, Frank O'Hara, Jean Stafford and others.
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8 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Holland on June 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I got this book because the title was intriguing. I would have been happy with good personal anecdotes, art history, art criticism or just some good writing, but none of the above was to be found. I'm a Willem de Kooning fan and have read a bit about him and Jackson Pollack too. This book starts off with boring historical stuff about Long Island which I skimmed and then the parts about de Kooning and Pollack are rehashes about well known topics. The writing isn't very interesting and there isn't much about the artwork. The third person writing format is awkward too; lots of "he's" where it's hard to tell who "he" is. I'd say anyone who's interested in de Kooning should get "de Kooning : An American Master" by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan, which is an excellent book.
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